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Just Published! Jesus or Yeshua: Exploring the Jewish Roots of Christianity

Today ScriptureSolutions  published a new booklet written by Louis Lapides. This brief  book can be found for Kindle at Amazon.

Jesus or Yeshua: Exploring the Jewish Roots of Christianity

Jesus or Yeshua: Exploring the Jewish Roots of Christianity by Louis Lapides

It came to no surprise to me that when I first became a Jewish follower of Yeshua, I was going to have a cultural crisis trying to fit into a Gentile Church.  I lasted a few months before I started asking inevitable questions, “I’m Jewish. Jesus is Jewish. His first followers were Jewish. The New Testament was written by Jews and a lot of the concepts they discussed have a powerful Hebraic background.  Then why is Christianity so “not-Jewish”?

Jesus or Yeshua: Exploring the Jewish Roots of Christianity provides the reader with some of the findings I came upon as searched for answers to my questions. For me a lot of the issues were resolved when I studied the origin of most of the terminology used by Christians when describing their beliefs and practices.  When I was growing up attending Hebrew school in preparation for my Bar Mitzvah I never expected that Rabbi Printz would tell me that the mass practiced by the Catholic Church across the street from our temple was actually based in the Jewish Passover.  Nor was I told that baptism has it’s origins in the Jewish practice of immersion or mikveh used when Gentiles would turn from their paganism and convert to Judaism.

Attending a church for me at age 23 was a shocker as I describe in my opening chapter.  Here is a sample section from that chapter that will give you an idea of what Jesus or Yeshua: Exploring the Jewish Roots of Christianity is all about.

Here’s a shocker . . . Jewish people don’t feel at ease in a Christian church. The first time I attended a Protestant congregation, a Southern Baptist one, I couldn’t avert my eyes from the 10-foot tall stained glass mosaic of Jesus looming behind the pastor. I imagined for a few moments the man from Galilee was about to step out of the window, float over to my pew and ask whether I noticed the “Jews Not Welcome” sign at the church’s front door. “Of course,” I would respond, “But Jesus, aren’t you . . . .?”

(more…)

Can’t God Do Anything Right?

In a recent post on the God’s Politics blog by Lynne Hybels, wife of mega church Willow Creek pastor, Bill Hybels, she asked, “What is an evangelical?”  It’s a question that has graced the cover and inside pages of Christianity Today for several decades. I am not sure why we as Christians keep asking this same old question.  Yet I predict if we keep making the same inquiry, eventually someone will come up with a new definition that will radically change the meaning of what it means to be an evangelical.

It was bound to happen.

Joining other theologians like Brian McLaren, author of “A New Kind of Christianity” (HarperOne, 2010), Pastor Rob Bell climbed aboard the bandwagon of redefining Christianity in his recent bestseller Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. 

One area where Christianity is refined with these “progressive theologians” is the inclusivity of salvation, also known as universalism.  Is God going to  permit everyone to enter heaven regardless of their acceptance of Christ or do individuals need to ask Jesus into their lives to receive eternal life?

In chapter four Bell wonders, “Does God Get What God Wants?”  In other words, if God desires everyone to experience salvation according to 1 Timothy 2:3-4, then everyone will be saved.  Read the passage, “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the [knowledge of the truth.

He starts off by explaining the sad plight of people who do not accept Christ as their Redeemer. No disagreement there.

Bell goes on to describe the doctrinal statement of several churches as found in their weekly bulletin or websites, in which the reader is told “he or she will suffer conscious, eternal torment in hell unless they accept Jesus” (pp. 95-86).  Pastor Bell pokes fun at these congregations, “Welcome to Our Church!”  Bell’s a real barrel of laughs about a matter that should not be ridiculed.

Yet on these same church websites, according to Bell,  are “extensive affirmations of the goodness and greatness of God” (pg. 96).  Bell sets up the reader when he conjectures, “That God is mighty, powerful, and ‘in control'” and that billions of people will spend forever apart from this God, who is their creator, even though it is written in the Bible that ‘God wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2). (more…)

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